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Here’s what happened when a New Jersey drag queen story hour received a bomb threat

In what is becoming an all-too-familiar story in the US, a Drag Queen Story Hour event in Princeton, New Jersey was nearly canceled over a bomb threat on Saturday. Even as the evacuation forced attendees off the premises, the organizers took the opportunity to continue the reading in the sunny outdoors.

The Princeton Police Department received the threat just before the event was scheduled to begin on Saturday morning. In an email laced with queerphobic slurs, the anonymous sender claimed they had planted multiple explosives around the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRCSJ)—where a half a dozen children and their families had gathered for the reading.

Police subsequently ordered an evacuation, and after investigators and scent hounds found no evidence of explosives, the building was reopened nearly two hours later. By then, the families had relocated to a nearby stoop, where drag queen Carrie Dragshaw carried on the reading, despite having left her wig inside.

​​“We simply took a fabulous field trip down the block and shared our stories, created community and embraced [one another], both literally and figuratively, with great respect and even more love,” BRCSJ founder Robt Martin Seda-Schreiber told PinkNews.

For Dragshaw, continuing the reading was about literally taking charge of their narrative. “The voices of negativity can be loud, but I believe the voices of positivity are greater,” Carrie Dragshaw said.

“A kid was wearing a shirt [with the message]: ‘We’re stronger together’, and I really believe that. I’m a firm believer in not letting the negativity take over the narrative. There’s so much love and joy in the community.”

Rather than scare the attendees away, the harrowing experience only brought them closer together, Seda-Schreiber recalled. And what could have been a traumatic, life-threatening event for the children—the same children those who target events like Drag Queen Story Hour claim they want to protect—became a fun outdoor field trip.

Ruxandra Barb, one of the moms in attendance, said, “What a beautiful lesson of resilience for the kids who were chased from the center by the hateful bomb threats, only to see the adults lovingly embrace them in the safety of the community.”

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